Month: June 2017

training run #1298

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Friday 30 June, 07:45

14C, cool, overcast.  A 5 mile run around Houndkirk Moor.  Decided to check out part of the route for the Exterminator race in September.  Arriving at Fox House the cloud was low, but it gradually lifted while I ran.

view across Houndkirk Moor

Went along Houndkirk Road then found a right turn across Houndkirk Moor.  Very soggy underfoot, wet feet again.  This route wasn’t on a couple of the maps I looked at.  Came out near Blacka Plantation, which is near checkpoint 2, Steping Stones.

Went back over the moor, bearing left which took me to an outcrop rather than the quickest route.  Then across the road and down over Burbage Edge.  Saw some resting cows (pic) as the path wound its way around towards Fox House.

The cows watched as I ran (slowly) past

Distance:  5.01 miles

Time:  1:08:10

Avg pace:  12:50 min/mile

Calories:  599

Elevation gain:  797ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1297

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Wednesday 28 June, 06:59

11C, cold, wet – I mean, really wet, Biblical even.  A 12.84 mile run following the route of the Dig Deep 12.12 race route.  Had a protein bar driving over, 2 gels and 500ml water during the run.  This was a real test of my Salomon jacket.  Wore the hood to keep heat in (I’ve got no hair to keep dry).  Feet were soaked within the first 2 miles.  

Today I couldn’t find the optimum route down off Higger Tor, but my alternative was OK and I only lost a few minutes.  I wasn’t pushing on at race pace anyway, just had the mindset to follow the route and avoid injury.  

The return over Burbage Edge and along Houndkirk Road I had a strong, cold wind in my face, driving rain, and I had to remind myself it was late June.  I couldn’t feel the tips of my fingers.  It was mostly downhill along Houndkirk and Limb Valley, so the last 3-4 miles was OK on tired legs.  A good test, and later I realised my legs are fine, in spite of running 7 miles Mon and Tues I had plenty left.

I wore my Brooks in spite of the wet weather.  Considered the Inov-8 Claw 275 for grip, but there are miles of rocky paths and wanted the rock plate.  The muddy bits are shorter.  And I’ve not broken in the Inov-8 shoes yet.  

However, I could have done with wellies as I returned to the Limb Valley.  What had been 2 cows hanging around on the way out had turned into a herd of a dozen or more, all standing very deliberately on the path/route.  I rounded them, giving them space. They all turned to watch as I stepped off the path into long grass that covered a swamp.  I was calves deep in mud, then noticed the last cow was a different colour, and I suspected she could be a he.  Back on the path and got moving sharpish.

No photos today as my phone got so wet and my fingers so cold I tried but was incapable of unlocking it.  Would not have shown much except low cloud anyway.

Distance:  12.84 miles

Time:  2:27:18

Avg pace:  11:07 min/mile

Calories:  1532

Elevation gain:  1733ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  2 rabbits and 1 herd of cows!

training run #1296

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Tuesday 27 June, 07:41

11C, cool, drizzly, overcast.  A 7 mile run to recce the second part of the Dig Deep 12.12 race route.  Wore Salomon jacket but the drizzle never turned into proper rain.  Got lost/stuck at one point, trying to find the right way down from Carl Wark.  Realised looking back from across the valley the race organisers would not expect runners to risk life and limb using the route I took, would use a path just before the outcrop.  My notes on this part of the route:

– Houndskirk Road is wide but very stony, first mile mostly uphill, not steep

– next half mile of Houndskirk is flattish, then right turn through a gate, across the moor towards Burbage Edge.

– a bit of gentle technical uphill, rocky, before a longer downhill, stony at first then grass

– turn right and follow a good flat path for 1.2 miles to Ringinglow Road, mostly a gentle climb until the very end

– not sure if the race will take us on the road (where I’ve run before, just 50 yards connecting trail paths) or across two streams – did the streams today and the rocks were fine today as not wet.  Dangerous if wet.

– initially uphill and technical over a craggy outcrop, then quarter of a mile flat easy section towards Higger Tor. (Pic)

View with Higger Tor to the right, Carl Wark in the centre distance

– tricky going down the other side of Higger Tor

– don’t need to go onto Carl Wark (like I did) because there isn’t a safe exit on the other side! I wasted lots of time today at Carl Wark.  Turn left on the approach, just before it (I’ll try this next time).

– cross the valley, turn left and in a short distance on your right see the path you came down that will take you back up and over Burbage Edge, then back along Houndkirk Road.

Overall, this seemed like to have some runnable sections, along Houndkirk Road and along the Burbage Edge path, and up to Higger Tor.  There’s also a few sections over Burbage Edge and getting up/down from Higger Tor that’ll slow me down. Most of the climbing is gradual rather than impossibly steep.  Next step is to run the whole route in one go.

Today’s route, the second part of Dig Deep 12.12 race route

Distance:  7.36 miles

Time:  1:30:21 (including all the wandering around Carl Wark)

Avg pace:  11:42 min/mile

Calories:  910

Elevation gain:  910 ft (TomTom) 1178 ft (ViewRanger app)

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

training run #1295

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Monday 26 June, 07:40

12C, warm, sunny.  A 7 mile run, doing a recce of the first part of the Dig Deep 12.12 race route.  Felt OK but planned to take it steady and figure out where the route went.  Felt heel niggle afterwards, more than during the run.  Drank 500ml water and had 1 gel.  

Lovely view from Houndskirk Road, just before heading into the plantation

My notes of the course:

– still uphill section out from the farm, rough track

– levels out and goes around a playing field, then down towards a road

– grass on near side of road, grit path on other side, couple of hundred yards

– turn left over a stile, alongside a field of crops, gets denser and denser underfoot until walking

– seemed to be 3-4 stiles around here, runners will get bunched up, time for a breather

– down some very steep dirt steps, then turn right along forest trail; undulating, not very difficult

– out from the forest track, along a field to a stile

– short stretch of road uphill, onto Houndskirk Road. Just before the top turn into the plantation (second left)

– a short distance in turn right and follow flat and straight rough forest track, then left, gradual uphill climbing, bear right, keep going up, then another stile, left turn out of the plantation onto a dirt track.

– a downhill section, some rocks and rubble, brings you to Houndskirk Road again.

– I turned left to return along parts of the route back to the farm.  The race route turns right – will try that part next time.  Return was mostly downhill apart from a short steep climb up to the farm at the very end.

Today’s route, the first part of the Dig Deep 12.12 race route

My overall impression is the route is runnable but there are a couple of steeper uphill bits and half a dozen stiles to get over. Mix of surfaces but mostly forest trail, not muddy today.  Some parts had roots and a few rocks, but not particularly technical.

Distance:  6.87 miles

Time:  1:13:42

Avg pace:  10:21 min/mile

Calories:  806

Elevation gain: 1000ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  1 herd of cows on the return

training run #1294

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Saturday 24 June, 07:24

12C, cool, windy, overcast.  A 12 mile run.  Had a protein bar at the start, a gel at halfway and drank 500ml water.  Followed the same 12 mile loop as previously.  Needed Salomon jacket on the outward part but I heated up and stowed it away for the return.  Felt heels on and off, particularly towards the end.  Didn’t push the pace, took it really easy and walked here and there.  This resulted in a slow time but enjoyed it.

Distance:  12.26 miles

Time:  2:15:10

Avg pace:  10:54 min/mile

Calories:  1472

Elevation gain:  1168ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Blacka Moor fell race 20 June 2017

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16C, mild and breezy, a bit misty on the tops.  The race began at 19:30.  I placed myself about 60% of the way back in the start chute.  

Blacka Moor sign (took this pic on recce run, not today!)

I’d done a recce run on 11 June.  It was really useful to know what was coming up, where the steepest parts are, the roughest terrain and steepest downhills.  Used that knowledge well and I remember on a steep uphill I was striding up equally as fast as two guys in front of me shuffling uphill at a jog.  Seemed to stay in roughly the same group, similar pace.  

Tired on the biggest, longest downhill, but still passed a couple.  Overall I felt I’d made good progress fitness-wise, having only started running off-road on 19 April.  Previously I’d have never managed to keep going on the uphills.
The posted race results showed 56:11 for 112th place. I was 15th in my age category and there was a total of 173 runners overall. Chuffed with that.  When I did the recce of the route my time was 1:09:34!! It shows I pushed hard today.

I’m getting hooked on trail and fell racing…..not to the detriment of doing road races/marathons though.

Distance:  5.91 miles

Time:  56:11 official, 56:10 TomTom

Avg pace:  9:28 min/mile

Calories:  690

Elevation gain:  1209ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Training run #1293

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Sunday 18 June, 07:23

17C to 20C, sunny, clear blue skies.  A 6 mile run along the crags.  Decided to keep the mileage low and moderate climbing to leave something in my legs for Tuesday’s race.  Ran from Fox House along Burbage Edge > Higger Tor > Mother Cap > Padley Gorge > Fox House.  It was hot even at 7am.  Had a gel at 4 miles and drank 500ml water.  Walked more bits than I’d expected, and paused to take photos.  Not serious about speed in the heat and thinking ahead to the race.  

The main thing I recall is stubbing my toes and tripping up 6 or 7 times, really odd for a short distance though there were lots of technical trail bits.  Almost went sprawling 2-3 times.  Noticed both heels niggling on and off.

Running along this stretch today I thought to myself ‘it doesn’t get any better than this’

Distance:  5.77 miles

Time:  1:12:15

Avg pace:  12:14 min/mile

Calories:  711

Elevation gain:  781ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia